Showing posts with label branding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label branding. Show all posts

Friday, August 9, 2013

Little Marketing in People Smuggler Campaign

Pity the Government marketers saddled with an expensive mass media campaign to reach such very small numbers. 

They must be scratching their heads and cursing the backroom operatives who dreamed up this campaign to 'win votes rather than stop boats' 

For several weeks ads like this have been appearing in Australian newspapers and broadcast on radio.

They support a recent change to the Australian Government's asylum seeker policies.  From 20 July unauthorised boat arrivals will no longer be settled in Australia but sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru where their refugee claims will be determined.

Fierce criticism has sprung up about the ads in recent days. The Opposition claims they breach Election caretaker conventions which stipulate what governments can and cannot do once a poll is called.  

Bipartisan agreement is needed when communications campaigns run during an Election period. And in this case there is no such agreement.

The people smuggling ad spend is rumored is be around $30m, a hefty sum for the cash strapped government agency managing this campaign and which has probably struggled all year with its marketing budget.  

There is no issue with ads targeted at environments likely to reach people smugglers overseas or their collaborators in Australia.  I would have thought these audiences are tiny, and already known to the Intelligence services - or at least they should be. 

But how many people smugglers or their accomplices live, for example in Canberra or Sydney, where full page ads are regularly appearing in the metropolitan press. 

Why spend tens of millions of dollars for a mass audience campaign to reach a small handful of people here in Australia and overseas?  The Commonwealth must have other, far less expensive communications tools to send a stern message to these criminal elements?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Become A Brand And Stand For Something

 A golden rule applies to each one of us whether we are politicians, business tycoons or on the frontline of community service.   

You must stand for something if you want to succeed.  This applies as much to not for profit organisations as it does to individuals.
Before you step out to communicate your value you must have a firm idea of who you are, what you do and why you are important to your cause, your clients and your community.
Having a strong sense of identity is critical.  It will guide how you work, what you say, who you engage and how and when you communicate.  In marketing this sense of identity is called branding and it influences how you deliver services as well as every aspect of your outreach.
In 2001 I worked for a national organization responsible for promoting community harmony among Australians from different cultural backgrounds.  The Federal Government had hand-picked high powered and accomplished professionals as Council members.  The organisation had dedicated and professional staff.  It had money and everyone expected big things. 
Within six or so years it had ceased to exist.  There were many reasons for its failure but a key one was it never defined its real purpose.  It never found a sense of brand which meant it lacked conviction when it entered the public domain.  A sad and visible result was a pattern of patchy and inconclusive communications.  At the time a friend seeing this wasted potential and lost opportunities summed it up concisely: if they want attention they must stand for something.
We are all aware of the big brands: McDonalds, QANTAS, Chanel, Bank of America, Lloyds of London and the like.  They behave in a consistent, certain way and when they speak they do so with clarity.  Small organizations need to have a similar sense of purpose or brand.  In fact it is even more important for them.  They lack the resilience and strength of larger organizations and unless they are strongly focused they are easily elbowed aside and overlooked.
Sometime ago I worked with a prominent community organization that provided in-home services for older people and disabled individuals.  The 35 person staff decided that to continue to succeed over the next 12 months collectively they had to come to:
  • Show a consistent purpose.
  • Deliver benefits clients, funding bodies, the media etc can readily see.
  • Deliver those benefits to a high standard day in, day out throughout the year.
  • Regularly reinvent the organization as community expectations changed.
  • Communicate constantly to staff, clients and the key groups that shaped their environment.
These five points provide a pretty clear roadmap of what an organisation – or brand - must do to move from being good to becoming great.
But finally a word of caution.  Do not confuse branding with logos, colours and symbols.  The best graphic designs in the world cannot replace a sense of corporate purpose, clarity or commitment.  These essentials must come first.  The fancy blueprints for business cards, websites, office signs and the like can usually wait so beware the marketer who claims they are the mandatory first step.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Not For Profits Face Tough Marketing Challenges

In July 2009 the Centre for Social Impact, the Fundraising Institute of Australia and PricewaterhouseCooper released Managing in an Uncertain Economy. This 24 page report outlines how Australian not for profits are handling the downturned economy.

It concludes that:

  • Incomes of not for profits are declining but government funding is stable.
  • Incomes are reducing at the same time as costs are rising.
  • 30% of not for profits have taken measures to reduce costs and more plan to do so in the next 12 months.
  • Larger organisations are faring better. Probably because they have more reserves, are better known and so far they have been more proactive in introducing cost saving measures.

The report states that marketing and raising brand awareness will be priority items on the to do lists of many charities and volunteer groups as they head into 2010.
  • Many will put more emphasis on winning government funding so government relations tools and tactics will increasingly feature in their marketing mix.
  • About a third of organisations plan to upgrade their websites and 35% are planning to improve communications with stakeholders.
  • Many are considering collaboration or partnerships with others but very few would consider a merger.
  • There will be a greater call for volunteers as one way to meet increased demand for services as staffing levels either remain static or drop.

The PR and marketing implications from this study are stark.

In the coming year not for profits need to develop and implement simple, cost effective marketing efforts that deliver both dollars and volunteers. That's if they
intend to continue to offer the same level of services their communities have come to expect ... and keep the doors open and the lights on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Branding, Culture and Communications

In our workshops for not for profit groups, we cover the relationship of organisational culture, communicating with staff and branding. And we show how all three intersect to present your image to the world.

We came across this very good blogpost on branding and internal culture which is worth a read.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Communications Lessons From Susan Boyle

A middle aged woman from a Scottish village looking very much like the lady next door stuns a TV audience with her angelic voice. Her story captures the mainstream media and sweeps through the online world.

With 25 million YouTube hits and nearly a half million new friends on Facebook people everywhere are applauding Susan Boyle's entry into the singing world. In the coming weeks her success on that UK Talent Show may well continue to be a hot media topic and win her even more digital endorsement.

Ms Boyle's fame may be short lived. As easily as the media is jumping aboard her bandwagon, it could just as easily get off at the next stop. In the ways of instant celebrity she could be into her first minute of Andy Warhol's 15 minute of fame. Or she goes on to fulfill her ambition to sing as a career.

Personally I wish her every success. In this era of often vapid celebrity it's encouraging to see real people recognised for good things and the fact that from apparent ordinariness they can offer us something special.

But Susan Boyle's story is as much about communications as it is about singing.

If Susan hadn't gathered the courage to enter that talent show and risk the potential for failure and ridicule, the world would be ignorant of her great gift. And I'm pretty certain there were those in her Scottish village who predicted her failure even as she set out for London.

Many of us work for organizations, manage our careers or lead our lives in a state of nervous timidity, continually anxious about stepping out to try something new. Susan Boyle's story shows that only by daring to communicate can we achieve the recognition we deserve.

Ms Boyle's story is counter intuitive. Her voice does not match her image. Her "branding" seems all wrong. Perhaps in recent years we have grown too accustomed to style over substance as the media has over-exposed us to the antics of celebrity heiresses, errant footballers, high fliers of finance and others. And yet despite all the coverage and attention those people have received - often at the expense of the worthwhile causes that are the real stuff of our communities - in the end they leave us with little of real value.

Susan's story is about substance elbowing
aside style. And that people, just like those in that initially skeptical London audience, will always stand to applaud the "real thing" when they see it. They just need the opportunity to see it for themselves.

Thanks Ms Boyle for reminding us of two fundamentals of communications. To win
firstly you must dare. And cool always crumbles before character.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PR2.0 Book Review

"PR2.0 New Media, New Tools, New Audiences" by Deirdre Breakenridge

Is this evolution or revolution?

Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, Twitter, Slideshare and a host of other social media tools are changing the way we communicate. And doing so rapidly.

Which leaves PR professionals looking similar to 19th century pioneers. We’re leaving the familiar world of brochures, media releases and other one way tools to travel the plains in search of the promised land of digital communications. We don’t know how long the journey will be or where we will finally settle. But as communicators we instinctively know there’s no turning back because things will never again be the same.

And for those who continue to doubt, look at Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign. It firmly put the seal of legitimacy on new media as a mass medium.

Fortunately US author Deirdre Breakenridge has written a book to help us find our way around this new frontier.

Her book PR2.0 is a valuable reference for communicators who need to understand new media, how to use it and how to integrate what we’re doing now with what we may be doing in the future. It offers a balanced view of social media but settles on a firm conclusion. New media’s ability for us to go one on one with our audiences means we live in the most exciting of PR times.

Most books on the subject either deal in generalities or descend into tech babble. This book does neither. It is written by a PR person for PR people and covers the things we need to know for our campaigns and projects. It starts with sections on digital research, monitoring and evaluation before dealing with new tools and applications such as social media releases, RSS feeds, blogs, video and audio.

Every chapter has blessedly simple explanations of the new technologies and features interviews with companies using it to good effect. Each concludes with a bullet point summary which is handy when so much rich information is presented.

The later chapters deal with planning for PR.2.O with valuable case studies showing how companies are using social media tools right now to get results. You could easily develop a template from these examples.

PR2.0 is a must-have reference for PR people. Get it, read it and keep it handy besides your desk or in your briefcase. It’s more than a book. It is a road map to the next PR destination.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Diplomacy Goes Digital

The US State Department is embracing social media in an impressive way.

Its 'Dipnote' initiative offers a range of internet resources - videos, images, blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts etc - to inform the public about US diplomacy. The Dipnote blog is written by two State Department officers, one of whom travels with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Importantly 'Dipnote' allows people to have their say on world issues. For example a recent blogpost on the international community's role in the Russian- Georgian conflict drew 73 comments.

The new State Department internet site is in strong contrast with its Australian and New Zealand counterparts. Their websites continue to be mostly text based with little scope for public interaction.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Marketing Challenges for Not For Profits

From time to time we do work for social services and community groups. So a recently released US report on not for profit marketing caught our eye.

The State of Nonprofit Marketing: A Report On Priorities, Spending, Measurement and The Challenges Ahead, produced by Lipman Hearne and the American Marketing Association (AMA), contains fascinating insights. Australian not for profits will recognise many similarities in the American findings.
  • Building awareness, generating revenue, branding and acquiring and keeping members were key marketing objectives for US not for profits.
  • Public relations, community relations and customer and member relations are considered the most effective strategies to build awareness and visibility.
  • “Being mentioned in the media is priceless, because it gains nonprofit organizations attention as well as third-party endorsement of their work."
  • Word of mouth marketing is important for donors, government agencies and other key audiences. The Report notes these groups need specific evidence from not for profits on how they are making an impact.
It seems that US not for profits find measuring their marketing efforts a tough ask:
  • The most measured marketing activity is events followed by revenue raising.
  • But evaluating the effectiveness of websites, media coverage and print advertising is not particularly well handled.
42% of organisations surveyed had only one person doing their marketing and even then the marketing area often shares responsibilities with other parts of the organisation.

And the biggest future challenges for US not for profits?
  • Building awareness/visibility.
  • Revenue generation.
  • Positioning/branding.
Sound familiar? And not just for community sector. We think many businesses would recognise these challenges.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Makes a Great Brand

This past week we ran a workshop for one of the most successful community sector organisations in Canberra. The CEO and 35 of her staff spent the day actively exploring ways to move their already dynamic organisation to the next level of performance.

As part of strategizing the future, we asked people to identify organisations they most admired. What made them stand out? And how could they embed the qualities that made others successful, into their own organisation?

The team turned up a list of around 15 organisations they most admired. It was truly an eclectic mix, ranging from the Salvation Army to McDonalds to a popular home decorations magazine.

The group's dicussion identified four factors that make a brand succeed over the long term. An organisation must:

  • Have a consistent purpose and recognisable benefits.
  • Deliver those benefits day in, day out.
  • Continually reinvent itself as customer and community circumstances change.
  • Constantly communicate - to staff, customers and all the other organisations that shape its environment.

Each week thousands of words are written about branding. Yet we think this team of 35 passionate community workers provided one of clearest explanations we have seen about what a brand must do, to move from good to great.